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Why Google Search Will Never Replace a Library

Posted by susabelle at 9:46 AM on March 11, 2012

LibraryThe other day, as I was working on editing the most recent novel I’ve drafted, I realized there was just something I could not find on Google.  I’m a big fan of “getting it right” when it comes to how people interact in a novel, and I needed to understand better how men interact with each other, how they talk to each other, what gets said and what goes unsaid.  Not being a man, I am a bit clueless.

So off to Google I went to search.  And there I stopped.  What the heck was I searching for?  What search terms should I put in, how could I word it so I could get the most appropriate results?  I’m a geek and a tech; I spend many of my waking hours in front of a computer screen.  I do much of my research online, and have for years.  I know good information from bad information, and know to check a URL and the “about” pages when looking at any information online to determine if it is legitimate information, or just opinion.

But this search was going to stump me.  There was no really good way to search for this online and get what I needed.  I grabbed the car keys, a pad of paper and pen, and headed the twenty blocks or so off to my local library.  We only have one library in our town, but it’s an exceptionally good one.  They even have a herd of reference librarians sitting at the ready for any question that comes along.  My steps never faltered, and I soon stood in front of the reference desk.  In three sentences, I described what I was looking for, and before I was done the librarian was out of her seat and leading me into the stacks.  She first took me to the relationship section, where I found books on how to talk to men, how men think, and why women and men have a different “language.”  Then she led me to the theatrical section, where she showed me books full of monologues from plays, even suggesting a few directly.  Lastly, we ended up in the “how to write a novel” section.

This search took less time than it took me to drive to the library in the first place.  And I walked out with a half-dozen very promising resources that I’ve spent the last two weeks going over.  I know more than I ever thought I would about men and how they talk to each other, what is said and what is often unsaid.  Eye-opening.

And while I may have been able to eventually find the information online, if I’d figured out how to search for it, it was much easier, and less time-consuming to just hit the original search source:  my local library and an educated reference librarian.

When was the last time you were in a library?